We all, on a daily basis, are inundated with news of nuclear war, the inevitability of climate disruption, a barrage of social media noise and the next great flash sale of an expensive product vying to occupy our imagination.
It can be difficult, especially for young people, to find positive and regenerative examples of people resisting and overcoming such challenging circumstances. There are, however, examples of youth who are leading the charge toward justice, inclusivity, empowerment, and the right to simply be recognized. Naelyn Pike is one shining example.
17-year-old Naelyn, who identifies as Chiricahua Apache, comes from San Carlos, Arizona where she co-leads the Apache Stronghold, whose mission is to defend and preserve Oak Flat, a sacred Apache site, from mining interests. For many, this is a full-time occupation and an endeavor that takes tireless effort to keep up the fight. Naelyn, a high school senior, balances the demands of her education with the fight to protect and preserve her identity that is under constant pressure of erasure.
Her strength and courage exemplify the qualities that young activists need to lead the restoration of a world that is in environmental and social freefall. Fearless presence; self-sacrifice; fighting to protect what is sacred; and holding it through gracious fierceness against the stemming tide of ignorance, miseducation, hate, and apathetic consumption of resources that extract rather than regenerate encapsulate just some of her qualities as one of the leaders of the next generation.
Her youth keynote presentation at the 2016 Bioneers conference highlighted her deep connection to the homeland of her people. She spoke directly about fighting corporations and politicians that would see her home sold off, and acknowledged that she is part of the 7th generation.
This year, she will again grace the Bioneers main stage with her energy, her grounded presence, and her power illustrating the importance of illuminating and elevating the voices, energy, ideas, and leadership of youth in the movements of today and tomorrow.
Join us! Get your ticket now!